Farmers in Soroti district are counting losses following a huge drop in the prices of cassava. A kilogram of cassava now costs 300 shillings from 700 shillings. A basin of dry cassava chips has dropped from 15,000 shillings in March to 6,500 shillings this month. Cassava farmers who expected to reap big because of the poor harvest, have now resorted to selling at lower prices. Some farmers have decided to store their stock in granaries and stores hoping that the price will improve soon.
John Kokas Arogai is a farmer from Alilio village in Arapai Sub County. Arogai says that he harvested 20 bags of cassava from his two acre garden in May hoping for better prices in June. He however, says there is no market adding that he has decided to sell his cassava for as low as 250 shillings a kilo in order to pay school fees for his children. Arogai says that he has worked at a loss because he spent a lot of money on laborers to help him harvest cassava. He says in July last year a kilo cassava went for between 600 to 700 shillings while a bag of cassava flour cost between 60,000 to 70,000 shillings compared to the current 43,000 shillings.
William Okello, a farmer from Dokolo village in Kamuda Sub County says he secured a loan and stocked 300 bags of cassava at 70000 shillings each. He says he expected huge returns because of the food crisis but wonders why the price has dropped. Okello says he has now decided to transport his cassava to be stored at a grinding mill in Moruapesur ward hopping for a better price the next month. He Rwandese and Dinka traders who used to flock the villages to buy cassava have not shown up since March this year.
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Gideon Emodu, a cassava dealer in Moruapesur stores attributes the drop in the cassava prices in Soroti to lack of customers.
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Charles Francis Emaju, the Soroti District Agricultural officer attributes the drop in prices to uncertainties in the market locally and externally. He says the businessmen from Sudan who have been buying the cassava in bulk have stopped coming to Soroti. Emaju asks the farmers to preserve the cassava until the price improves. He blames the farmers for not studying the market conditions before harvesting the cassava from the gardens.